By Chris Morgan
The Detroit Lions are a quarter of the way through the 2013 season, and it has gone well so far. They are currently 3-1, and they are also 2-0 in the NFC North. The Lions have a chance to move to 3-0 in the division this week, but it will be very difficult for them to do so.
Detroit faces the Green Bay Packers on the road. The Lions have not won in Lambeau Field in well over a decade, and the Packers have a good team this season. It may take a full strength Lions team to have a chance, and unfortunately, the injuries are piling up.
The only player definitely out for the Lions this week is receiver Nate Burleson, who is still out with his broken arm. He did have his cast removed, but it will be weeks until he returns. The Lions recently signed receiver Kevin Ogletree to try and replace Burleson.
Both offensive tackle Jason Fox, who has been dealing with a groin injury, and cornerback Rashean Mathis, who suffered a concussion last week, are probable. The Lions need Mathis back, but Detroit’s offensive line has been fine without Fox, and he may not get his job back.
On the offensive side of the ball, offensive tackle Rob Sims and receiver Calvin Johnson are questionable. Sims has a shoulder issue and Johnson has a knee problem. Sims was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, while Johnson didn’t practice at all. It seems likely both will be in the lineup against the Packers, however. Johnson didn’t practice last Wednesday either, and he played against the Bears. Detroit definitely needs Megatron, as without him they have basically no weapons in the passing game.
There are more questions on defense. Once again, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah was limited in Wednesday’s practice with an abdomen injury. This was the case last week, and he played. Three key players from the Lions secondary are all questionable: Safety Louis Delmas missed practice with a knee, safety Glover Quin was out with an ankle issue, and cornerback Chris Houston missed time with a hamstring injury.
Having one of those three out against the Packers would be tough. Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers and a collection of top notch receivers. It is going to be hard for the Lions to stop them regardless. Missing a starter in the secondary will just make it more difficult, but having more than one guy out would be devastating to the defense. Of course, being questionable and missing practice is business as usual for Delmas—expect him to play. Quin and Houston, on the other hand, are true question marks. If Houston can’t go, the Lions will be missing their best cornerback, and rookie Darius Slay hasn’t been up to the task. Maybe somebody like Bill Bentley will have to step up.
Beating the Packers at Lambeau has been an impossibility for Detroit in recent years, and if their injured players—particularly the questionable guys on defense—can’t play, it could get ugly.
For more Lions news and updates, visit Lions Central.
Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .